With Christmas right around the corner, I thought it was appropriate to do another edition of product reviews. Read on if you need to add anything new to your Christmas list. Enjoy!
Aqua Sphere Goggles
Best. Goggles. Ever. I bought these goggles a couple months ago based on a recommendation by Frayed Laces. My original goggles were getting really scratched up and were never very comfortable. These were a bit more than the previous pair at about $25 – versus $10 for the generic pair from Dicks Sporting Goods.
There are three reasons why these goggles rock. #1 Comfort. They are super comfortable. They have a soft gasket that doesn’t need to be super tight in order make a good seal. #2 Adjustment. They have super easy adjustment with their patented “Quick-Fit Buckle” that allows for quick adjustment while wearing them. #3 Visibility. There are absolutely no blind spots with these goggles. The oversized lens doesn’t have any angles so there is no distortion. It is like you aren’t even wearing goggles.
I have the blue color pictured above, but they are offered in a variety of colors and lens options (clear or smoke). Jennie likes the blue color because they are easy to spot from a distance and she can easily pick me out of the crowd.
To give you an idea of how good these goggles are, two other people that I swim with bought a pair since I got them after checking out mine.
- Link: http://www.aquasphereswim.com/us/index.php/products/eye-protection/adults/68
- Price: $24.99
- Rating: 5 out of 5
Fizik Airone Tri 2 Wing Flex Saddle
I purchased this saddle back in August after noticing that my original saddle had a pretty significant crack in it. I was hesitant to change it out because I was doing the Breakwater HIM at the end of August. I decided that I really didn’t want to risk another race on the original saddle, so I took the plunge and replaced it. I ended up picking this saddle because of the favorable reviews I read about it online. I bought it at my LBS rather than online which cost a little bit more, but I didn’t have the time to wait for shipping. As it was, I only had about 2 weeks to get used to the new saddle.
I immediately noticed that this saddle was much stiffer than the original Fuji saddle. Nevertheless, I adjusted to it quickly and thankfully didn’t have any issues on race day.
One of the cool features of this saddle is the Integrated Clip System (ICS) which allows for easily attachment and removal of ICS saddle bags and a blinking red light. This is helpful if you have multiple bikes with the same type of saddle.
Overall, this is a great saddle and I have been very happy with it thus far.
- Link: http://fizik.it/product.aspx?c=ARIONE-TRI2-Wing_Flex
- List Price: $200
- Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle
I absolutely love this water bottle! If it was feasible (and not a horrible waste), I would toss out all of my water bottles and buy a couple more of these. I actually ended up buying this water bottle on a whim. I had an order on Performance Bike that was $8 away from free shipping and this bottle cost $10, so it was practically free. I wasn’t very optimistic about its insulating powers, but boy was I wrong! I filled it up with ice water on a hot summer ride and was shocked to find I still had ice left in the bottle after an hour of riding. It works a heck of a lot better than a plain old water bottle.
The other feature of the water bottle that I really like is the JetValue. With a typical nozzle you have to open it to drink and close it when you are done. With the JetValue you simply squeeze the bottle to drink from it and it seals automatically. Surprisingly the nozzle doesn’t leak as you might expect with an auto sealing value. There is a safety lock on it that you can engage if you are transporting a full bottle and want to be sure it doesn’t leak though.
The one downside to the bottle is that it is not dishwasher safe. Upon further research on Camelbak’s website, it says they are actually dishwasher safe as long as you avoid a high heat or sanitize setting. I think the label on the bottle said otherwise though.
I highly recommend this bottle if you ever bike in a warm climate and want your beverage of choice to remained chilled.
- Link: http://www.camelbak.com/sports-recreation/bottles/podium-chill.aspx
- List Price: $12 ($10 at Performance Bike)
- Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Performance Classic Short Sleeve Bike Jerseys
These jerseys are the main reason I was making the aforementioned Performance Bike purchase. Until now, all of my bike jerseys have been collected from races and I haven’t had any plain old basic jerseys. I really wanted a couple jerseys to wear on every day rides so that I wouldn’t wear through my nicer jerseys as quickly.
I picked out three colors, blue, red, and a day-glo yellow color. They are all great. The day-glo one works great for late afternoon rides when I am fighting off darkness. The jerseys are not quite as form fitting as some of my other jerseys but they are really comfortable. They are loose enough that I can easily wear a long sleeved compression shirt under them when the weather cooled off.
When I first ordered these jerseys, I ordered larges because that is what all of my other jerseys are. Unfortunately when they came they were way to too big so I had to exchange them for mediums. So, keep in mind that the sizing seems to run big if you order any. Even in the medium size, they are a bit baggier than some of my race jerseys, but I think that is by design. They are build more for comfort than for speed.
- Link: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1085238_-1_20000__400060
- List Price: $34.99 (Currently on sale for $19.99)
- Rating: 4 out of 5
I love, love, love these shoes. I can’t say enough good things about them and from what I have read, I’m not alone (#1, #2, #3, #4 and #5 to name a few). Just out of curiosity, I Googled “Saucony Kinvara +Love” versus “Saucony Kinvara +Hate”. The “love” search won with nearly 120,000 results versus less than 6,000 for the “hate” search.
If you remember, I won these shoes at a local running event. The gift certificate was for a free pair of Saucony’s. Being a Brooks DYAD guy, I really didn’t know what to look for. Thankfully, Megan @ InTraining was able to give me some good recommendations to get me started. I ended up with the Kinvara because it is a neutral shoe (like my DYADs), it was comfortable, and came in a kick ass hunter orange color.
During my first run in these shoes, I knew I was in love. They just feel good. And they feel fast! My initial thought when I bought these shoes was that they were going to be my racing flats as they are about half the weight of the DYADs. However, the more I run in them, the more I am thinking that they are going to become my everyday shoe.
The Kinvara is a minimalist shoe and I was worried about going from such a cushioned shoes to one that is bare bones. It definitely is a change and my legs and feet felt are more tired after my long runs than they did with my Brooks. However, I have already started to adjust and don’t notice it as much. If you do try them out, I would recommend taking it slow at first. You aren’t going to want to go out and do a 15 miler after your first week.
As for the hunter orange color, I love it because it is different. The Kinvara actually comes in a slew of colors; 7 different color combos for each men and women. I think my next pair will be the Citron/Black color which is a dayglo yellow. I have gotten quite a few comments on the shoes as well. The coolest comment was when I was wearing the shoes along with a Ironman Steelhead shirt. Jennie and I passed a middle school aged kid who was wearing the same shoes. He commented to his friend something along the line of, “Look, an Ironman has the same shoes as me!” haha. Well, a half Ironman wears the same shoes at least.
So, verdict is big 5 out of 5. The only aspect that I haven’t yet determined with these shoes is their longevity. My Brooks generally get 400-500 miles so that is what I am aiming for with these. My worry is that the minimalist nature of them will shorten their lifespan. Only time will tell.
- Link: http://www.saucony.com/store/SiteController/saucony/staticpage?content=Kinvara_saucony&CID=Print-Kinvara
- List Price: $90
- Rating: 5 out of 5
Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves
I picked these compression sleeves up at the expo for the Grand Rapids Marathon. I had been wanting to try them ever since I got my CWX tights last year. I love how well the CWX tights work and I was hoping these would do the trick on just my calves. Unfortunately, I haven’t been very impressed. They do however, keep my legs warm in weather that is in between shorts and long pants.
I think the sizing might be the main issue and I probably should have exchanged them for the smaller size. They are available in two sizes S/M (Height 5 9" and below. Calf Size 11.5" – 14.) and L/XL (Height 5 10" and up. Calf Size 14.5" and up). I chose the L/XL as I am about 6’ but I didn’t know my “calf size”. Even though my height fits in the L/XL range, the sleeves seem way to long. They stretch from the middle of my knees all the way down to the tops of my shoes so I usually have to roll up one of the ends to make them comfortable. Likewise, the large size doesn’t seem to provide as much compression as my CWX tights.
So, on the compression front, not so good. However, because they work well at keeping my legs warm on cold runs and rides, the purchase was not a complete bust.
- Link: http://www.zensah.com/compression-leg-sleeves.html
- List Price: $39.99
- Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Thanks for reading!